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Transport sector must adopt digital to deliver value

by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
JOHANNESBURG – SOUTH Africa’s transport sector must embrace digitalisation, in the wake of projections of rapid population growth and increased urbanisation impacting on infrastructure.

Freight and passenger transport demand are forecast to rise.

Tshepo Kgobe, the Gautrain Management Agency (GMA) Chief Operations Officer, said the transport sector must heed the call for digitalisation within the next five years in order to deliver value to the customer.

This will also ensure that transport is a catalyst for economic growth through smart infrastructure, integration and technology, Kgobe told delegates attending the Huawei Connect 2021 Transportation Summit.

“The challenge is to use technology to connect the infrastructure we already have,” Kgobe said at the event held in the midst of Transport Month in South Africa.

Kgobe said partnerships between the private sector and government entities would enable smart mobility, allowing for an easier and quicker commute and enabling the sector to extract the most out of the freight economy.

Held under theme, “Dive into Digital”, Huawei Connect 2021 covered topics such as Digital Rails – The Future of Mobility, Smart Ports – Digital Transformation Practices as well as Smart Highways vs Digital Highways vs Smart Transport.

A GMA study conducted in 2019 found that by 2025 Gauteng’s roads would be severely congested.

Traffic on the freeway is feared to slow down to 10 kilometres per hour.

Thomas Snyman, Huawei Senior Account Representative, said facilitating smart mobility would require an integrated transport system connected across all transport modes.

“Enabling interoperability through smart ICT will fuel the transformation of railway, air and road transport as well as South Africa’s ports,” he said.

Snyman said a fully connected rail, road, air, and port system achieved through unified data sharing using smart technologies like cloud computing, big data and IoT would improve on efficiencies.

This would ensure greater safety and security, providing a better customer experience at a lower cost.

“By introducing advanced technologies connected over fast networks managed by smart algorithms we could reduce congestion, identify areas that need maintenance, and improve road safety in real time,” Snyman said.

He added that 5G networks would be core in enabling an integrated transport system as its greater speeds, lower latency and scalability would allow for better communication across all transport modes.

Rose Moyo, Huawei ICT Senior Specialist, said, “To ensure work mobility, you need to be looking at providing internet access and connectivity at any time and not be trapped within a fixed domain so that even when people are working remotely operations can continue.”

She noted significant investments in ICT would accelerate substantial upward momentum in South Africa’s economy.

However, Moyo noted, digital transformation in industry was not isolated and must be led by a national strategy.

Huawei is a provider of transport solutions in more than 40 countries and regions across five continents.

– CAJ News

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